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A History of Ethiopia

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  108 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In this eminently readable, concise history of Ethiopia, Harold Marcus surveys the evolution of the oldest African nation from prehistory to the present. For the updated edition, Marcus has written a new preface, two new chapters, and an epilogue, detailing the development and implications of Ethiopia as a Federal state and the war with Eritrea.
Paperback, Updated Edition, 335 pages
Published February 22nd 2002 by University of California Press (first published September 30th 1994)
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J.M. Hushour
Jan 22, 2014 J.M. Hushour rated it it was ok
If you grew up in the 1980s, your first association with the word 'Ethiopia' is probably a needle-limbed child starving to death in the desert while the shrill demoness Sally Struthers solicited money from your parents that meant, nope, you're not getting that Thundercats temple base for Christmas. Mumm-Raaa!
Reading this book is not dissimilar from listening to Sally Struthers (really, couldn't they find someone a little less nose-bleed inducing?). It is pinched, high-pitched, and often wince-in
Nov 16, 2013 Marit rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I waver between two and one stars for this book. I chose this book as one of the more highly rated thorough histories of Ethiopia but the writing style and content were often disappointing. While I do feel I learned a lot about the modern history of Ethiopia, since the 1800's, I learned next to nothing about culture, except obtusely through politics, about lifestyles, and not all that much about pre-1600 Ethiopia. Marcus chose to skim over "early" history of Ethiopia by rattling off names of emp ...more
Jul 05, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Very comprehensive and helpful background for some of the work I have done in country. The strong focus on military campaigns is, however, a bit dry and limiting, though I do understand how interwoven that is with the political and ethnic context.
Jan 05, 2011 Ron rated it liked it
Fairly dry, but I'm glad I read it. Learned something about the cultural mentality of Ethiopians. Would be interesting to get a more human, less academic perspective to complement this which was pretty academic.
Jan 01, 2017 katie rated it liked it
Decent, readable overview of Ethiopian history from ancient times through the early 90s. Obviously written in the early 90s with all of the weaknesses that entails. Still a worthwhile read overall if you want an overview of Ethiopian history.
Kevin Pedersen
Sep 15, 2016 Kevin Pedersen rated it it was ok
Shelves: world-tour
A good resource, and a solid overview of literally thousands of years of history (focused on the more recent stuff of course), but reading this never stopped feeling like homework.
Nov 29, 2015 Amaha rated it liked it
Shelves: african-studies
A well-written and very readable synopsis of Ethiopian history. Marcus is opinionated to the point of being tendentious- any given reader will disagree with some of his assertions- and he isn't interested in teasing out the nuances of historical developments or meticulously documenting the sources of his conclusions. But his very argumentativeness is part of what makes this such a brisk read on such a broad topic. I found it a very good intro to the topic, though worth balancing with other sourc ...more
N.W. Martin
Dec 27, 2014 N.W. Martin rated it really liked it
A surprisingly readable survey of Ethiopian history. You must remember Marcus is one of those historians trying to tell a story that funnels into and connects with the historical facts that the stories are based. This is why much of his history comes from the oral stories (much like most of our information on early greek history) that are still breathing on Ethiopia. So far, so good... Though, as this book is a survey, it is definitely not comprehensive. It is a good introduction to those who ar ...more
Jul 15, 2007 Justin rated it liked it
Fascinating country with a very long history. It's an entirely different take on Africa than all the post-colonial states. The book is a bit too concise in some areas. I mean, the reign of Haile Selassie takes up a third of the book yet he doesn't even say when or how he died after he was captured by rebels. Many other oversights like this. But if you want a history of Ethiopia you have to take what you can get.
Jul 27, 2011 Jpp rated it liked it
Un livre dont le premier et le plus grand mérite est d'exister, l Ethiopien ayant malheureusement pas suscité suffisemment de vocations malgré Raimbaud et Ruffin...Sur une trame de faits très inégalement rapportés, avec des périodes historiques ( et en particulier les origines) trop sommairement tracées, il manque par ailleurs d'analyses et de synthèses...
Daniel Belay
Dec 22, 2013 Daniel Belay rated it really liked it
After quickly discussing Solomonic Dynasties for fifty pages, Marcus spends the great majority of the book on historical figures of Modern Ethiopia: Emperor Tewodros II, Menelik II, Haile Selassie I, Mengistu Haile Mariam etc. Overall this book does an excellent job of balancing context, analysis, and story--resulting in a readily accessible modern history of Ethiopia.
Nathan Blair
Feb 21, 2011 Nathan Blair rated it really liked it
I hoped there would be some cultural history of the various ethnic groups of Ethiopia and Eritrea, but other than that hope, the book was very informative. Perhaps a bit alphabet soupy for those not accustomed to political histories, the book was very detailed. I can appreciate more the history behind all the conflict in this part of the horn after this read. I recommend it.
Nathan Douthit
Jan 17, 2016 Nathan Douthit rated it really liked it
An excellent summary of Ethiopia's history. Concise, a bit editorial, but definitely a good starter to whet the appetite.
Sintayehu Regassa
Oct 03, 2010 Sintayehu Regassa rated it liked it
this book explains the political and economic also military problems in Ethiopian about 2 decades ago. For person interested in know about Ethiopian politics this book would help a lot.
Stuart rated it really liked it
Mar 13, 2013
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Dec 30, 2012
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Jan 09, 2015
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Aug 31, 2012
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